Oil Painting: Portraits in Cool Light with Chris Saper

How to Paint Portraits

Oil Painting Portraits in Cool LightPortrait painting is popular for a reason, and it’s tough to argue with the classics. Even in the age of the selfie stick and easy access to cameras, we’re drawn to formal portraiture; not only because we want the ability to control how we’re presented to the world, but because portrait painting forces both the subject and the artist to stop and contemplate, to be in the moment and reflect upon what they want to show.

Portrait painting might be about more than just getting the technical details right, but those technical details sure do help if you’re going for realistic, representational work rather than abstraction! In Painting Oil Portraits in Cool Light, Chris Saper demonstrates, step-by-step, the technical knowledge any portrait artist needs to improve their work and get the features, skin tones, and proportions of a face right.

Oil Painting Techniques

If you’re going to go with a classic subject, what better way to do it than with a classic medium? Try using oil painting techniques to paint your favorite faces to make use of the slow drying and easy blending, which really helps soften the angles. In her video, Chris demonstrates the best painting tips, color mixing, and brushstrokes for painting faces, showing practical applications for capturing expression and personality.

Preview Painting Oil Portraits in Cool Light now for some great tips to get you started; then head over to ArtistsNetwork.tv for the full video, materials lists, and more, or download it at NorthLightShop.com!

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Art Supplies on a Budget

If you’re an artist, you undoubtedly know how expensive this hobby or profession can be. A single brush or a tube of paint, if high quality, can run over a $100!

While I never advise using cheap, inferior art supplies, I do have my tricks. But before you go off bargain shopping, let me tell you what not to do.

Cut costs on supplemental items, but do NOT go cheap on the mediums. If you’re using a specific technique, try not to use student grade or bargain brands for your mediums. These lesser brands will usually will have less pigment in them. A good comparison is Crayola Crayons, and the other less expensive brands. If you compare the two, the other brands are less colorful and intense than Crayola. They contain more wax than pigment, which is why they cost less.

Paints are very similar. Student grades or bargain brands often will have less pigments in them and more fluid in their base, especially in acrylics. Some have a high degree of polymer binder and less pigment, making them somewhat transparent or dull. You’ll also see this in oils, where the cheaper paints will have more oil in them.

While it’s good to save money when you can, using inferior quality in your art mediums can produce disappointing results. You may end up blaming yourself for having no talent, when it’s actually your products letting you down. Let the kids and the young beginners use the other stuff. If you’re more advanced, always go for quality art products for better results.

I see a lot of this frustration with colored pencils. Many students find out that the high-end brands are very expensive. But, when the students buy a less expensive brand, they cannot achieve the same results I get with my work. Being an instructor, I find this is so frustrating, because my students then feel as if they just can’t do it! It’s not them that is failing, it is the pencils! A set of Crayola colored pencils, while great for kids, will never give the same look as a drawing done in Prismacolor.

Art supplies on a budget | ArtistsNetwork.com

Creative Alternatives for Art Supplies

So when it comes to the mediums you use, use the good stuff for achieving a professional look. If I recommend a brand in my books, using it is the only way to achieve the same results.

Aside from the mediums, there are plenty substitutions you can make to save money. And I am ALL about saving money! Here are just a few of the ways I do art on a budget. It becomes an artistic scavenger hunt.

When I was very young, and could not afford a lot of art supplies, I became creative in finding alternatives. I’ve always loved to draw on toned paper, but good paper is expensive. I would take my brown paper grocery sacks and dismantle them. I would then cut the unprinted side off, and create sheets of paper. I would stack them and use a hole punch on one side, and then lace the side together with twine. It made a perfect pad of brown paper for colored pencils. I still like to draw on this, for the paper is a beautiful color, and it has a perfect feel to it. (And, it’s another great reason to not use plastic bags.)

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I’ve been in retail art supply sales for more than 35 years and today, I can buy whatever I want. But I still prefer to search for bargains, and use cheaper things over the expensively made items as appropriate. My favorite budget busters are what I use for painting.

There is a huge variety of paint palettes available, and I have tried them all. Yes, they’re good, but my very favorite is one I found at the corner Dollar Store. It’s a tray made for condiments or chips, and the plastic is very slick. Some plastic has a rougher surface, and that will not clean well. But this one has such a slick surface, the paint peels right off. I LOVE it for its light weight. It’s easy to hold, and the wells in it are perfect for mixing. I use these for both oil and acrylics, and if I have any leftover paint, I pop it in the freezer until my next painting session. You can also use deviled egg trays. Their wells are smaller, and they are perfect for watercolors. I shall never by an expensive palette again!

I also save money when it comes to brushes. Recently, my sister gave me a beautiful set of cosmetic brushes for Christmas. As well-intended as her gift was, I don’t use brushes for makeup. One day, I saw them sitting there doing nothing, and I had an idea. I had forgotten my drafting brush, and needed one for the drawing I was doing. I picked up the larger “blush brush” and used it instead. It was even better! The soft, fluffy bristles brushed off the drawing debris with absolutely no smearing, and the brush is so small and portable that it fits wonderfully into my pencil bag. Who knew?

If you buy a full set (which often comes in carrying case for travel), the other brushes are very useful: I even use the mascara brush for scratching texture. Since I have no delusion of the brushes lasting as long as a professional paintbrush, I make sure to take good care of them. After each use, I wash them thoroughly with the “Master’s Brush Soap.” I’m sure that with this care, I will get a lot of mileage out of them.

Another resource for good, natural brushes is your local nail salon. They have to use expensive, sable hair brushes for their work. But, as soon as they start to splay out from the chemicals, they have to throw them away. I made a deal with my local salon to buy their castoffs. I got them either for free or for very little, since to them they were trash. What a great deal!

Lastly, to carry all of these little treasures, go to the fishing department at a discount store. The tackle boxes they have are a fraction of the cost of your art store storage boxes. I found out that many of these are made in the same manufacturing plants as the art supply boxes, and the only difference is in the price tag.

These are just a few of my little secrets to make your art experience less painful in the pocketbook! Experiment and you’ll find there are many ways to substitute and turn things into art supplies! If you think of any others, please let me know in the comments section so we can all share!

Until next time!


Lee Hammond has been called the Queen of Drawing. That may not be fair these days, since in addition to providing the best drawing lessons, she has also created fantastic books and videos filled with the same easy to follow acrylic painting techniques, colored pencil techniques and more. Click here to see all of the instructional books and DVDs that Lee Hammond has to offer!

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Sketching Idea: Choose a Specific Subject and Draw a Series

When someone loves something, it shows, even without him saying. When reading the introduction to Pete Scully’s Creative Sketching Workshop: 21 Sketch Crawl Ideas and Exercises, his love for sketching was apparent. Pete said that when he discovered the growing trend of sharing urban sketches with other artists online, his passion for drawing was reignited, and so began the birth of this book that’s guaranteed to inspire others.

“If you’ve ever been stuck on ‘what to sketch,’” Pete says, “just remember that anything can be interesting if you take an interest in it, and sketching is one of the best ways to get interested in the world around you. All you need is something to draw with and something to draw on.”

Sketching ideas with Pete Scully | ArtistsNetwork.com

Sketching a Series by Pete Scully (from Creative Sketching Workshop) Sketching ideas with Pete Scully | ArtistsNetwork.com

Even the most creative of minds can get stuck. What do I draw? How do I find inspiration? One way is to pick a particular type of object around the home–shoes, tools, bottles–or maybe something outside, such as fire hydrants, newspaper boxes, interesting cars or larger buildings such as churches. Then, all at once or over a period of time, draw a series of them. That way, you’ll always have a subject to get your creativity flowing again.

Luke’s Shoes: In this series I decided to sketch every single one of my son’s shoes, in chronological order, from the very first to the latest. Each of these is in a single small Moleskin sketchbook in the same black-and-white style, from different angles, although I have done additional color ones in a second sketchbook, which I use to draw all of his toys and things in general. As this is a project spanning several years, I have tried to keep the style similar, even though my personal techniques have evolved. As a record of my son’s growth it is priceless, and far easier to accomplish than a scale drawing of him growing up. I’ll probably still be sketching his shoes well into his twenties! ~Pete

Sketching ideas with Pete Scully | ArtistsNetwork.com

In Creative Sketching Workshop, you’ll find ideas such as this, as well as exercises that are planned with definitive outcomes in mind. For example, in the “Sketching a Series” exercise, Pete notes that you’ll:
• Develop your interest in drawing the everyday
• Work on your observational skills
• Appreciate differences in similar objects
• Develop a specific style
• Draw quickly and often

You’ll love being able to flip through Creative Sketching Workshop (pre-order your copy here) and see at a glance what benefits you’ll get out of the various sketching lessons. Pete has included chapters that feature a variety of artists who cover everything from indoor and outdoor scenes to sketching buildings, people and pets, complete with plenty of diverse examples and inspiring prompts.

Happy sketching,
Cherie Haas, online editor
**Subscribe to the Artists Network newsletter for inspiration, instruction, and ideas, and score a free download > Colored Pencil Techniques 101.

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In the Footsteps of Frank Reaugh | Texas Landscapes by Jeri Salter

Contemporary artists continue to find inspiration in the work of Frank Reaugh (1860-1945), an artist who documented—primarily in pastel—the landscape of the Southwest at the turn of the century and the spirit of the Texas cattle drive in particular. One such fan is Jeri Salter, an Austin-based pastel artist who, in 2014, traced the artist’s travels, painting at the locations Reaugh visited on his legendary sketch trips. Earlier this year, Salter presented 30 of those works in a one-woman show at William Reaves Fine Art Gallery in Houston.

We asked the artist to tell us what it is she admires most about the pioneering pastelist, Frank Reaugh:

“I admire the way he lived his art. He knew from an early age that he wanted to earn a living as an artist, and he did that very much on his own terms. It wouldn’t be true to say he painted in a vacuum without outside teachings and influences, but so much of what he learned came from direct observation and painting on his own. He painted a vast amount of small plein air pieces that, to me, seem like small love notes to the landscapes he lived in”

You can read more about her experience in the October 2015 issue of Pastel Journal, available here and on newsstands. Meanwhile, enjoy this sampling of pastel landscapes that grew out of her project:


Black Mountain and Gold Grasses (pastel) by Jeri Salter


Brazos Sunrise at Village Bend (pastel) by Jeri Salter


Golden Field of Cattle (pastel) by Jeri Salter


Windmill Against an Evening Sky (pastel) by Jeri Salter





PASTEL PAINTING WITH THE MASTERS! This eMag featuring pastel insights and instruction from celebrated artists Duane Wakeham, Jimmy Wright and William Truman Hosner is now available at the North Light Shop!

You can have an entire of year’s worth of Pastel Journal articles at your fingertips. Add the 2014 Pastel Journal Annual CD to your pastel library!

Subscribe to Pastel Journal magazine

Watch pastel art workshops on demand at ArtistsNetwork.TV



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IAPS Convention 2015 | The Greatest Pastel Party on the Planet

The 11th biennial convention of the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS), held this past summer in Albuquerque, N.M., kicked off on Tuesday, June 2, with four all-day workshops led by pastel superstars Sally Strand, Albert Handell, Diane Rapissi and Terri Ford, and the inspiration just continued to flow for the next four days.

This was the fifth IAPS convention I’ve had the pleasure to attend, and I continue to marvel at how much creative power is packed into this event. Here are just a few of the many highlights from another wonderful week of pastel instruction, inspiration and celebration:

The opening of the IAPS Pastel World exhibition combined two shows—the 26th Juried Exhibition and the 3rd Master Circle Exhibition—as well as paintings by IAPS demonstrating instructors. This showcase of pastel diversity included everything: ethereal seascapes and quiet snow scenes, abstracted floral bouquets and complex room interiors, a portrait of maternal bliss and another of plucky chickens. Happily, the show was hanging in the convention hotel, allowing for multiple repeat visits. I think I went back for five viewings.

The every-popular Paint-a-Round is always a blast. Here’s how it works: The five selected artists have 10 minutes to start a painting, using their own reference and provided materials. When the bell rings, each artist moves on to the next easel to continue that painting for 10 minutes. This continues until every artist has worked on all five paintings. In the last 10 minutes, the artist finally returns to his or her original piece to finish it off. This year’s featured artists were Tony Allain, Terri Ford, Stan Sperlak, Alain Picard, and Marla Bagetta. The diverse mix of painting styles and approaches among the artists—not to mention abundant personality—made for a thrilling and often hilarious hour of art entertainment.


Five pastel celebrities show off their talents in the IAPS paint-a-round.


The IAPS audience cheers on this year’s five fantastic paint-a-round participants: Terri Ford, STan Sperlak, Tony Allain, Alain Picard, and Marla Baggetta


The Trade Show, aka “Candy Store,” brought together 26 vendors to share their materials and services. Whether the shopping discovery was a new set of pastels, an untried surface, an unfamiliar palette box or a new book by a favorite artist, the temptations were many and mighty.


The Saturday Night Banquet provides an opportunity to recognize artists who’ve earned enough points (through acceptances and awards in IAPS exhibitions) to be honored as “Eminent Pastelists” or to gain entry into the Master Circle. This year, three artists—Diana De Santis, Anne Heywood and Vianna Szabo—were elevated to Eminent Pastelist status, and 40 artists were inducted into the Masters Circle. Banquet attendees were also treated to a presentation by Esther Bell, the curator-in-charge of European Paintings at the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, a specialist in 17th- and 18th-century paintings, and a pastel enthusiast. Bell spoke about the importance of the gallery of George Petit in the rebirth of pastel in Impressionist France.



A pre-banquet cocktail hour is a wonderful chance to meet and chat with pastel friends, like Richard McKinley, shown here with Pastel Journal publisher Jamie Markle, pastel artist (and film actress) Kim Novak and myself.


Of course, at the core of the IAPS convention, are the workshops, classes and demonstrations. A total of 29 artists offered instruction over the course of six days on a range of subjects and topics. Some examples are: “A Rainy Day in Paris” with Alan Flattmann; “Painting Skin Tones” with Alain Picard; “The Landscape From Outside In” with Aaron Schuerr; “Making Waves in Pastel” with Jeanne Rosier Smith; “Try Your Hand at Abstract Painting” with Debora Stewart, and so many more.


Artist Aaron Schuerr demonstrates his landscape painting techniques.


Marla Baggetta stops to make a point during her demonstration.


The city of Albuquerque itself is always one of the highlights of the IAPS Convention; the big skies, mountains, hot air balloons, and desert flora all add to the experience. Congratulations and a heap of gratitude to IAPS president Liz Haywood-Sullivan and convention director Susan Webster, and all the many others on the IAPS team and volunteers who devoted their time and energy into making this latest convention a great success!







PASTEL PAINTING WITH THE MASTERS! This eMag featuring pastel insights and instruction from celebrated artists Duane Wakeham, Jimmy Wright and William Truman Hosner is now available at the North Light Shop!

You can have an entire of year’s worth of Pastel Journal articles at your fingertips. Add the 2014 Pastel Journal Annual CD to your pastel library!

Subscribe to Pastel Journal magazine

Watch pastel art workshops on demand at ArtistsNetwork.TV



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Pastel Artist Daniel E. Greene | A Life in Pictures

Daniel E. Greene, whose career as a painter spans seven decades, has been committed
to the pastel medium since first cutting his teeth in portraiture as a street artist in 1950s Miami. Although he has worked heavily in oil as well (most of his commissioned portraiture is done in that medium), in his personal work he has always moved back and forth between the two. And his pastels—large, formal, conceptually and technically dazzling—proved years ago that the medium is just as suitable as oils for creating accomplished, serious work.

I talked to the artist last April, just after his latest one-man show at Gallery Henoch in New York City. I asked the artist about the experiences, choices, achievements and specific paintings that have shaped his life in art. The full article can be seen in the October 2015 issue of Pastel Journal—the 100th issue—available here or on newsstands.

Here is what the artist had to say about painting fabrics—one of the captivating elements of his still life work.

“I’ve always been interested in painting fabrics. And that goes back to the beginnings of doing portrait commissions. Throughout art history, artists who have painted portraits have had to paint fabrics, and developed methods for dealing with the fact that the folds in the sitters’ clothing change from day to day. They might put the clothes on mannequins or add starch to the fabric so folds remain constant. I practiced how to go about dealing with these changes by setting up materials in various still life setups. That lead to an enjoyment of painting interesting fabrics. The fabrics in these still life paintings started to become one of the salient characteristics. So I began to collect interesting fabrics.”

Greene, who has a new solo exhibition opening in January 2016 at Cutter and Cutter Gallery in St. Augustine, Fla., shared a few additional paintings from his illustrious life in art:


Wool, Spindles, Silk & Moire (pastel) by Daniel E. Greene



Self Portrait Grand Central (pastel) by Daniel E. Greene


Auction Participant (pastel) by Daniel E. Greene


Fenton Gourd & Ballet Slipper (pastel) by Daniel E. Greene


Eleanor Roosevelt (pastel) by Daniel E. Greene resides is in the collection of the Clinton Library




PASTEL PAINTING WITH THE MASTERS! This eMag featuring pastel insights and instruction from celebrated artists Duane Wakeham, Jimmy Wright and William Truman Hosner is now available at the North Light Shop!

You can have an entire of year’s worth of Pastel Journal articles at your fingertips. Add the 2014 Pastel Journal Annual CD to your pastel library!

Subscribe to Pastel Journal magazine

Watch pastel art workshops on demand at ArtistsNetwork.TV



The post Pastel Artist Daniel E. Greene | A Life in Pictures appeared first on Artist's Network.

Pastel Painting Gallery | Jane Radstrom’s Figure Paintings

An unconventional approach adds dynamism and vitality to Jane Radstrom’s captivating pastel figures. In her pastel painting, the human form moves as if it’s printed with lenticular lenses, back and forth, depending on how it’s viewed. Ever skillful with layers of poses and pastels, her works nod to classical figure painting, but with a knowing wink that says this is a contemporary artist.

Enjoy some of these double-exposure figure paintings below, and read more about Jane Radstrom in the October issue of Pastel Journal, available now at northlightshop.com and on newsstands beginning September 15.

Or, for just a few more dollars, subscribe to Pastel Journal and never miss an issue! Get the issues in the mail or as digital downloads.


Andre (pastel, 38x26) by Jane Radstrom | figure painting

Andre (pastel, 38×26) by Jane Radstrom


Crows Nest (pastel, 51x34) by Jane Radstrom | figure painting

Crows Nest (pastel, 51×34) by Jane Radstrom


Sister Thyme (pastel, 38x26) by Jane Radstrom | figure painting

Sister Thyme (pastel, 38×26) by Jane Radstrom


Unstable Ground (pastel, 59x29) by Jane Radstrom | figure painting

Unstable Ground (pastel, 59×29) by Jane Radstrom



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